Choosing a Wedding Photographer | Let's do this!

Choosing A Wedding Photographer

Most of the emails I get from brides ask me questions on the process of choosing a wedding photographer. They have never done this wedding thing before and Pinterest will lead you astray in the midst of your decision making.
This post is meant to be a guide that serves YOU and the wedding you dream of.
I have compiled the 7 common questions I get and my advice on each one. Because I have your back girl.
If you hire me, I’m like a bridesmaid but with a camera. And yes, I will even wear the gown haha—jk!
Wanna make your wedding photography dreams come true? Let’s dive in!

  1. When is the right time to book your photographer? After he proposes, and venue is picked and the date is booked, you are ready to book your photographer. Usually, couples spend the most on engagement rings, venues and photographers so knowing that you’re investing in the big things first can help you set a realistic budget. Don’t delay in choosing your photographer as we book clients pretty far in advance and your date may not be available by the time you decide to inquire.

  2. Where do I start researching photographers? If you know a friend recently married, ask them first! Or ask your venue for recommendations. A lot of photographers have referral programs that might benefit you. Google local photographers and hashtags like #LakelandWeddingPhotographer and click on the pictures that make you feel something. If you notice that you click on the same person’s photograph’s, reach out!

  3. Should I reach out to ALL the photographers I like? You should narrow down your search by your style and preferences. Ask yourself: What similarities do you see in the images you like? Are they shot using film photography? Light and airy? Dark and moody? Candid or posed? Dramatic flash lighting? Does this photographer flatter his/her subjects? Does it look natural? Learning what you like helps you communicate style preferences with potential photographers. Pick about 4 favorites and contact them to get a conversation going.

  4. Should I ask them for their pricing? Aside from providing your wedding date, photography budget range and venue info, you should include a nice message that gives insight to relevant points of your day. Remember, you’re going to have this person with you on the most important day of your life, having a connection with your photographer is the start of a trusting relationship. Opt-in for an in person meeting or via video call to get all your questions answered and see the pricing list. By meeting them, you’ll get an idea of what it will be like to spend your day with them and actually see what they offer. Email conversations can delay the process of booking your photographer and you might not know if you like them or not.

  5. What should my budget be? Having a realistic budget is crucial because when the cake is eaten, the flowers wilt and the dress is hung, all you have left are your wedding pictures. I’m a believer that you deserve the wedding photography of your dreams. For reference, wedding resources say that at least  10%-12% of you wedding budget should be allotted for wedding photography. If you’re like me and think that photography is the most important item of your day, you will increase that percentage. Mine was 15% of my budget. Central FL weddings are estimated around $38,000. Be upfront about your photography budget range with your photographer. Understand that “you get what you pay for” is true. The higher the skill set and experience of the photographer, the more expensive it will be. Consider cutting costs in areas and things you don’t value as much to increase the photography budget. Ask about payment plans if available, and even add it to your wedding registry if the photographer has that option.

  6. What questions should I ask my photographer? This part is crucial to your consultation with potential photographers. Should I hire a second shooter? Second shooters are helpful when your wedding has a large guest count or you have multiple venues the day of. Ask the professional about what they recommend. How much coverage will I need? Most weddings have an 8 hr coverage with a comfortable timeline but you might need more or less coverage than that. What wedding collections are most popular and why? Collections save you money instead of a-la-carte custom pricing. Having prints and albums at the end of the wedding experience is ideal because you don’t have to worry about those things after the honeymoon and it will save you money in the long run. It took me 3 years to purchase my own wedding album because it wasn’t a priority. I regret not purchasing it when I booked my photographer. It’s my favorite thing to share with friends and loved ones. My daughter loves going through it and she’s only 1 year old. However, I used Artifact Uprising and will have to replace it soon :(

  7. I already had engagement pictures done but my wedding collection includes it. Should I do them? Of course! Do not skip this. It doesn’t matter if you don’t “need” the pictures, the session is going to set the pace for what your pictures will be during the wedding. It’s like a stress free trial on the experience. You’ll end up feeling comfortable in front of the camera, trusting your photographer and much more relaxed when the day comes. Consider the main benefit of the engagement session as becoming comfortable with your photographer and photos secondary. This will ensure your wedding images are the best they can be.

Making the final decision over the wedding photographer should be between you and the fiancé. If someone else is paying for the photographer, I suggest inviting them to the consultation so that they have the opportunity to ask questions and set expectations. Did you connect with the photographer and love their photos? If your answer is yes, ask for a contract and invoice to pay the deposit for the collection you want. Photographers are hired as first-come, first-serve basis and once they book, they’re booked! You don’t want to lose your first choice because you took too long to decide. I recommend 7-14 days to have a response. And finally, if you talked to other photographers and ended up not choosing them, let them know. You’re not hurting their feelings, they appreciate not being “ghosted”. Go the extra mile and provide feedback on why you didn’t choose them. That information is valuable to their business and helps them serve clients better. They will love you for it!

Good luck and happy planning :)
If you like a gal who’s going to capture honest portraits of you and your boo, I’m booking for 2019 & 2020.
Contact me and let’s start the conversation!

Ashley HolsteinComment